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The clash of civilizations or the clash of ignorance?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Summary
  3. Opposing paradigms
  4. Analysis
  5. Huntington's position on the role played by Islam in global politics
  6. Huntington's use of the term 'resurgence' in connection to Islamic religion
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

The end of the Cold War marked a turning point in international politics and in the way in which political scientists defined world conflicts. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States became the sole hegemonic power. Academics rushed to demarcate future sources of conflict and fault lines that would drive global interactions. Like other political scholars, Samuel P. Huntington attempts to understand and explain such sources of political and cultural conflict in post-Cold War times in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. According to Huntington world politics is entering a phase, in which ?The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of international conflict will be cultural? (Huntington 1993). Civilizations, essentially cultural groupings distinguished by ancestry, religion, history, values, customs, language and institutions, will determine levels of collaboration and contradiction between nation states.

[...] These factors are the foundation of Western identity and often bring the into conflict with other civilizations. Recent Western, and particularly U.S., involvement in Iraq has done nothing more than enhance the differences between the Muslim world and the It is difficult to impose certain foreign political ideals on a civilization which is not socially or culturally prepared for them. Huntington also notices the negative impact that linguistic diversity has on encouraging international cohesion. Without a universal language, nation- states take the lead in creating languages. [...]


[...] and the Soviet Union were the key players, but with the fall of the Soviet Bloc rivalry of the superpowers [was] replaced by the clash of civilizations? (Huntington 1996, 28). In sum, the world is composed of seven or eight major civilizations: Sinic, Japanese, Hindu, Islamic, Orthodox, Western, Latin American, and possibly African. According to Huntington's definition, these civilizations are the ?broadest cultural entit[ies]? defined by ?common objective elements and by the subjective self-identification of people? (Huntington 43). Boundaries between civilizations are sometimes blurry as are their beginnings and endings. [...]

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